with the transfer of the buildings and revenues of these orders to the secular clergy.

However, it was in the Habsburg hereditary domains that the Josephist suppressions of the regular clergy took on paradigmatic significance. A relatively short span of time saw the disappearance of some 700 male and female institutions, so that the population of the regular clergy was reduced from 65,000 to 27,000. The buildings and revenues of the suppressed religious orders were used not only for the secular clergy, but also for the needs of the general public. In addition, those regular clergy who had escaped suppression were redeployed into 'public service' positions. In sum then, in the space of only a few years, Josephism produced a veritable 'revolutionary' upheaval over a vast area where the Counter-Reformation and the religious and social forces which embodied it had once been so strong.

In Poland in the mid-sixteenth century, there had been fourteen monastic and mendicant male orders, and eight female orders. Over time other orders and congregations originating in Spain and Italy were also established, as well as the Lazarists who had come from France. A substantial increase occurred in the 1620s and 1630s, when another 250 houses were added to the 277 already in existence. Two-thirds of these belonged to mendicant orders, such as the Dominicans and the reformed observant Franciscans. The Jesuits were also particularly successful, their initial twenty-five colleges and residences expanding to forty-two by 1626, while the Jesuit corps of 512 members grew to nearly a thousand.

In the second half of the seventeenth century, despite the general political and social crisis that beset the country, another seven male religious orders were added to those already in existence, bringing the total number to twenty-seven - or twenty-eight if the Basilian Order, the only religious order of the Uniate Church, is included (whose male branch numbered in the eighteenth century over a thousand, distributed in 191 monasteries). Older religious orders like the Capuchins, and new congregations such as the Lazarists and the Bartholomists, found a prominent role as educators in the seminaries. The increase in the male religious orders would continue uninterrupted into the second half of the eighteenth century, through the first partition of Poland in 1772, when there were 14,600 religious in 860 institutions - a number which was equivalent, or perhaps even superior, to the numbers of the secular clergy. Unlike other areas of Catholic Europe, over 60 per cent of Polish religious were ordained priests, a factor which facilitated the pastoral work and ministry of the regulars and which probably explains the relatively few instances of indiscipline among the regular clergy, especially by comparison with other parts of Europe.

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